I went to Forest Park to get out of the house in hopes that I might daydream myself into a blog topic. I sat on the very plush grass below the World’s Fair Pavilion and started writing. I sat there for about ten minutes before I realized that sweat was dripping into places that I had forgotten that I had. I gathered my things and headed up the hill to the cool shelter of the pavilion to try to hatch some brilliant ideas to write about.
I hadn’t expected to have the pavilion completely to myself because you are never alone in Forest Park. There’s always someone around even if it’s just the guys tooling around on those dangerous stand-up lawn mowers. (Sometimes I can’t help but stare at them as they whiz around on them because I’m quite sure that there will be one time when one of them hits a bump or a pebble or a shoe and goes flying directly over the handlebars and ends up being chopped up by his own mower. And like my certainty that one day I will find a dead body in a public restroom stall and not know what to do, I am not sure what I will do when I am the only witness to a lawn care specialist in Forest Park being eaten alive by a lawnmower. But when I moved up to the pavilion, I discovered that I would not need to think myself into a stupor in order to have a topic. The topic appeared before me.
I had stumbled upon the “In” spot at Forest Park for meeting up with your personal trainer. There were several couples working out up there. The first group I noticed was two women. Both looked fit and aside from the trainee wearing what looked like a saggy diaper, there was nothing odd about them that held my attention for very long.
The second couple is who I spent the rest of my time in the park inspecting. This group consisted of a scrawny looking young lady who was working out with a not-so-scrawny looking “personal trainer.” I put personal trainer in quotes because I’m pretty sure that Scrawny is new to the world of physical fitness, looked on Craigslist, found someone really cheap who claimed to be a personal trainer and would meet her in a public place, and ran with it.
I don’t believe that this man is a personal trainer at all. He had all of the equipment (He came with a balance ball and a ball with handles) He seemed to know all of the terms (kettlebell: formerly known as ball with handles) He even has the right techno-beat music pumping from his portable boombox. He was wearing the proper attire: a backwards baseball cap perched on top of his head, a blue t-shirt and a pair of black Nike running shorts and gym shoes. He even threw out a “Way to go, Kid!” at her while she curled the little two-pound weights to her chest.
The thing that clued me in that this guy might not be the real deal was the fact that if I squinted my eyes and looked at him, I could swear that I was looking right at John Belushi. I could faintly see the traces of a ghostly “College” stretching across his shirt. I’ve seen personal trainers. I KNOW some personal trainers. This man had the physique of a personal trainer…if he was personally training someone on how to have birdlike legs holding up the pony keg that they wanted to hide where a six-pack should be. His man boobs were less prominent because of the nine month old baby he was carrying in his belly. His t-shirt hid his lack of upper arm strength but it could not hide his love of beer and pork rinds.
I know how Personal Trainer came to find himself leading Scrawny through a workout. He was looking through the job section of Craigslist, one hand holding a forty ounce as he navigated the net with the other. He realized that he was not qualified for any of the jobs. He knew he needed something that is flexible in schedule. Something where he can be his own boss. And preferably something he won’t have to report to the government because his “clients” will pay in cash. Also, it must be legal. He can’t go back to prison.
It hits him: He will become a personal trainer! So he writes and posts his ad and lurks around his apartment, snatching up his roommate’s portable exercise equipment. He peruses his cd collection and makes a custom workout cd that includes C+C Music Factory, Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch, and Technotronic, even though none of these people have been heard from since the mid-nineties. He does research on the internet and puts together an exercise routine based on Reader’s Digest articles such as “Firm Up Your Abs in Six Minutes a Day!” and “Better Butt in Just Two Weeks!”
And then he waits.
But he doesn’t have to wait long before he has his first potential client. They email back and forth a few times, him sweating a little (more than he does in his non-existent workouts) between each response, thinking that she has caught wind of his scheme. Is she on to him? Has his personal training career ended even before it had time to begin? Then her response comes and he breathes a sigh of relief. She was just a little busy with her new REAL job. “When can we meet?” she writes, excited to get her toned body back.
“Tomorrow. World’s Fair Pavilion in Forest Park. Ten AM. Be prepared to sweat!” is his almost immediate response.
I tried very nonchalantly to watch as he led her through the basics: stretching, breathing, and water breaks. As I watch their routine I am completely at a loss of understanding as to why she needs this bozo to lead her through such basic exercises. I also try to make sense of why she, when she first caught a glimpse of him, didn’t pretend to be someone else out for a walk and keep walking right by him and eventually double back to her car.
In the middle of his leading her through a “plank” position, he receives a phone call.
Which he takes.
“Hey what’s up? (pause) No…No, I’m at the park with my client. (pause) No, I told you I put an ad on Craigslist last week. (pause) Since this morning. (pause) Twenty bucks an hour. (long pause) No, you should totally do it. (pause) Reader’s Digest. Yeah, I’ll send you the articles.”
Ok, so I made that conversation up. But he really did take a call in the middle of her workout.
Why am I telling you all of this? Because I have now decided that since I am currently not working, I am going to become a personal trainer. I need your help to get my clients because word of mouth is the best advertising.
So get to it.
If you have any further questions, I will be home reading Women’s Day articles on tightening those abs in four days while I munch on my family size bag of Cheetos, washing it down with pineapple soda while I wait for my Dee-lite/Ace of Base workout cd to be completed.
Feel the burn!